PURPOSE: This study evaluates whether an intervention to identify Canadian patients eligible for a palliative approach changes the use of health care resources and costs within the final month of life.
METHODS: Between 2014 and 2017, physicians identified 1,187 patients in family practice units and cancer centers who were likely to die within 1 year based on diagnosis, symptom assessment, and performance status. A multidisciplinary intervention that included activation of community resources and initiation of palliative planning was started. By using propensity-score matching, patients in the intervention group were matched 1:1 with nonintervention controls selected from provincial administrative data. We compared health care use and costs (using 2017 Canadian dollars) for 30 days before death between patients who died within the 1-year follow-up and matched controls.
RESULTS: Groups (n = 629 in each group) were well-balanced in sociodemographic characteristics, comorbidities, and previous health care use. In the last 30 days, there was no differences in proportions between the two groups of patients regarding emergency department visits, intensive care unit admissions, or inpatient hospitalizations. However, patients in the intervention group had greater use of palliative physician encounters, community home care visits, and/or physician home visits (92.8% v 88.4%; P = .007). In the 507 pairs with cancer, more patients in the intervention group underwent chemotherapy (44% v 33%; P < .001) and radiation (18.7% v 3.2%; P = .043) in the last 30 days. Mean cost per patient was similar for the intervention group (mean, $17,231; 95% CI, $16,027 to $18,436) and for the control group (mean, $16,951; 95% CI, $15,899 to $18,004).
CONCLUSION: Even with the limitations in our observational study design, identification of palliative patients did not significantly change overall costs but may shift resources toward palliative services.
OBJECTIVE: With increasing evidence from controlled trials on benefits of early palliative care, there is a need for studies examining implementation in real-world settings. The INTEGRATE Project was a 3-year real-world project that promoted early identification and support of patients with cancer who may benefit from palliative care. This study assesses feasibility, stakeholder experiences, and early impact of the INTEGRATE Project
METHODS: The INTEGRATE Project was implemented in four cancer centres in Ontario, Canada, and consisted of interdisciplinary provider education and an integrated care model. Providers used the Surprise Question to identify patients for inclusion. A mixed methods evaluation of INTEGRATE was conducted using descriptive data, interviews with providers and managers, and provider surveys.
RESULTS: A total of 760 patients with cancer (lung, glioblastoma, head and neck, gastrointestinal) were included. Results suggest improvement in provider confidence to deliver palliative care and to initiate the Advanced Care Planning (ACP) conversation. The majority of patients (85%) had an ACP or goals of care (GOC) conversation initiated within a mean time to conversation of 5-46 days (SD 20-93) across centres. A primary care report was transmitted to family doctors 48-100% of the time within a mean time to transmission of 7-54 days (SD 9-27) across centres. Enablers and barriers influencing success of the model were also identified.
CONCLUSIONS: A standardized model for the early introduction of palliative care for patients with cancer can be integrated into the routine practice of oncology providers, with appropriate education, integration into existing clinical workflows, and administrative support.
OBJECTIVE: To explore the extent to which family health clinics in Ontario and the eastern regions of the province of Quebec provide palliative care.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey.
SETTING: Ontario and the eastern regions of Quebec.
PARTICIPANTS: The clinic leads of a select group of family health clinics with patient enrolment models in Ontario and the eastern regions of Quebec.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The types of palliative care services that the clinics provide, as well as the enablers of and barriers to providing palliative care within the 2 provinces.
RESULTS: The overall response rate was 32%. Clinics in both provinces reported providing palliative care to ambulatory patients (83% of Ontario clinics and 74% of Quebec clinics). Only 29 of 102 (28%) Ontario clinics provided on-call services themselves, compared with 31 of 34 (91%) Quebec clinics, with the resulting effect being that more patients were directed to emergency departments in Ontario. Access to palliative care specialist teams for support was higher in Ontario than in Quebec (67% vs 41%, respectively). In Ontario, 56% of practices indicated that they had access to palliative care physicians who could take over the care of their patients with palliative care needs, but a lower number (44%) actually handed over care to these physicians.
CONCLUSION: A group of clinics are providing full palliative care services to their own patients with palliative care needs, including "on-call" services and home visits, and these serve as role models. In Ontario in particular, substantial gaps still exist with respect to clinics providing their own after-hours coverage and home visits; many rely on other services to provide that care. In Quebec, lack of access to palliative care specialist teams appears to be a key challenge in the areas included in this survey. This survey could help policy makers and funders of health care services ensure that appropriate conditions are put in place for optimal palliative care provision in these clinics, such as coordinating access to on-call coverage and support from palliative care specialist teams, as well as providing education to all physicians and adequate remuneration.
Background: Many patients who receive chronic hemodialysis have a limited life expectancy comparable to that of patients with metastatic cancer. However, patterns of home palliative care use among patients receiving hemodialysis are unknown.
Objectives: We aimed to undertake a current-state analysis to inform measurement and quality improvement in palliative service use in Ontario.
Methods: We conducted a descriptive study of outcomes and home palliative care use by Ontario residents maintained on chronic dialysis using multiple provincial healthcare datasets. The period of study was the final year of life, for those died between January 2010 and December 2014.
Results: We identified 9611 patients meeting inclusion criteria. At death, patients were (median [Q1, Q3] or %): 75 (66, 82) years old, on dialysis for 3.0 (1.0-6.0) years, 41% were women, 65% had diabetes, 29.6% had dementia, and 13.9% had high-impact neoplasms, and 19.9% had discontinued dialysis within 30 days of death. During the last year of life, 13.1% received ⩾1 home palliative services. Compared with patients who had no palliative services, those who received home palliative care visits had fewer emergency department and intensive care unit visits in the last 30 days of life, more deaths at home (17.1 vs 1.4%), and a lower frequency of deaths with an associated intensive care unit stay (8.1 vs 37.8%).
Conclusions: Only a small proportion of patients receiving dialysis in Ontario received support through the home palliative care system. There appears to be an opportunity to improve palliative care support in parallel with dialysis care, which may improve patient, family, and health-system outcomes.